Winter Bug Getting You Down? full article

As a Nutrition Coach, I guide and support clients in a way that encourages the body to do the work of being well.  Essentially I am a teacher with a wish to share knowledge of how food and lifestyle choices affect your state of wellness and how to make them work to your advantage.  Sometimes our choices affect us in positive ways other times in negative ways. Too often we see people go down a path of ill health because they do not have a wellness plan in place.

Maintaining, or improving health does not have to be complicated so the purpose of my talks/articles are to get you not only thinking about your health but to help you take action.

Winter Bug Getting You Down?                                      germ-303979_640

Colds, flu, sore throat or strep, sinus infections, chest infections – sound all too familiar?

Wise protocols such as avoiding crowded areas, covering your mouth when coughing, sneezing, washing hands regularly may help to stop you picking up bugs, but really…

It all begins with a strong immune system.

  • And this begins in-vitro with the health of your parents and as a newborn, through breast feeding and the passing on of antibodies.
  • If you have symptoms such as allergies, recurrent or frequent infections, chronic fatigue, herpes outbreaks, auto-immune disease, inflammatory disorders (eczema, psoriasis), dysbiosis (yeast overgrowth, fungal infection or parasites) these are signs that your Immune system is under duress.

What makes up your Immune system?

  • Primarily your white blood cells WBC and the Lymphatic system which includes nodes, vessels and organs that collect, transport and generate defender cells.

Organs include; Bone marrow -where B lymphocytes are made, responsible for producing antibodies.
 Thymus –where T lymphocytes are produced, these can kill cells infected with viruses and activate other immune cells.
Spleen – the largest organ, clears cellular debris and is a blood reservoir
GALT – gut assoc. lymphatic tissue – tonsils, adenoids, appendix, Peyers patches in the small intestine. (this makes up approx 70% of Immune System)

How do we ensure a strong Immune System?

  • Feed your body what it NEEDS, (not wants) – Provide the raw materials it needs to nurture, repair and fuel the body – it relies on quality nutrients to function optimally including the Immune system. Deficiencies of even one or two nutrients can impair its protective ability.

– Avoid processed, refined, artificial and overcooked foods, they are lacking in balanced                           nutrients and natural enzymes
– Limit caffeine, alcohol, saturated fats
– Eat plenty of whole, clean, unaltered foods
– raw, lightly steamed or sautéed
– Include health promoting EFA’s
– Ensure a balanced amount of protein intake from both animal and vegetable sources –quality   is important. Protein is made of Amino acids, and these are essential for the synthesis of     antibodies, (as well as enzymes and hormones). Sufficient enzymes for breakdown (+Zn)

– Holiday season! Don’t over-eat, particularly over cooked/ processed foods. Lots of enzymes and energy is required to digest large, heavy meals. WBC’s are enzyme rich so they will step in when demand is high, but this reduces the availability of these defenders to fight bacteria and pathogens.

  • Support the beneficial flora in your gut.

– These guys have a symbiotic relationship with us – we support them, they support us, not only aiding digestion, but defending against the Nasties.

– Unlike the bad flora, who are more parasitic in nature, taking from our bodies, and leaving behind their waste products – toxins that must then be neutralized and eliminated (more energy consumption)

– Consuming nutrient dense foods, as in points already mentioned support better populations of the good guys.

– The addition of ‘live foods’ bolsters their numbers even more – fermented foods such as sauerkraut, organic miso, fermented soy, kefir, Kombuca (Rise tea), yogurt and sprouts.

– Avoiding refined foods (excess simple carbohydrates) and particularly sugars provides less of what the bad guys love to feed on.

  • Be aware of the effects of some drugs

– Some directly inhibit immune function – immuno-suppressants, for AI diseases, medications for       cancer treatment

– Antibiotics (as the word means anti – life) have their place for serious bacterial infections (not  for viruses) but they also destroy the beneficial flora – this compromises the strength of your Immune system.

– Anti-bacterial soaps contain anti-microbials that can penetrate the skin and may not be so discerning between good and bad.  Our largest organ – the skin is also a line of defense – over washing removes natural oils that help provide a natural barrier.

  • Limit exposure to toxins. This is my #1 step to building better health

– Avoid food additives, preservatives, pesticides, altered foods, fragrances, pollution, cosmetics and personal products with heavy metals, petroleum, phthalates, parabens etc.   These overburden the liver and some may affect the digestive tract creating an immune  response which over time, depletes the system.

– Supporting the liver is therefore critical – foods containing chlorophyll or sulfur – greens,         cruciferous, onions, garlic, lemon, beets, etc, and limiting alcohol are all beneficial along with               staying well hydrated and allowing appropriate time for the detoxification process.

  • Get regular exercise.

– Low to moderate activity is beneficial in so many ways – circulation, muscles and especially for the lymphatic system which does not have it’s own ‘pumping’ system.

– Repeated over-exertion causes tissue damage and a pro-inflammatory situation and therefore  an immune response.

  • Find ways to manage stress.

– Stress can upset normal digestive function – poor digestion can cause intestinal damage and affect the absorption of nutrients. (Celiac and IBD are extreme examples) The problem is two-fold – damage creates an immune response and deficiencies occur with poor absorption –  micro-nutrients that are essential to a healthy glandular and immune system

  • Maintain good sleep protocol

– Rest is the best medicine, ensure suitable quantity, and good quality.

What role do Free Radicals play and how do antioxidants help?

  • Free radicals are the by-products of metabolism. They are electrically charged molecules that attack and damage cells. This of course causes an immune response. This attack is known as oxidative stress and shows itself through poor cardiovascular health, joint degeneration, muscle weakness and accelerated aging and ultimately over time weakens the immune system.

– If allowed to go unchecked auto-immune disease may also occur.

– Following all of the mentioned recommendations will prevent this from happening.

– Supplying Anti-oxidants helps prevent damage by FR. –  dietary sources, plenty of fresh vegetables,   fruit, whole grains provide Beta Carotene, vitamin C and E while minerals such  as zinc and selenium from nuts/seeds,  cacao beans, also play a role.

– Scientific studies have found that phytonutrients in foods – the elements that provide colour,               flavor and smell to foods also have potent antioxidant properties. Berries are a good example, especially    blueberries.

– Once again balance is essential and indiscriminate ‘popping’ of supplements can be counter productive.

Selenium Essential trace min. best source Brazil nuts, fish, meat, eggs, whole grains, other nuts. Deficiency is associated with reduced immune cell counts so it is important in reducing disease        progression.  It aids in the absorption of iodine (thyroid), for cancer prevention, reduces                            incidence of Heart Disease by limiting oxidation of LDL. Best from foods, only supplement  short term – excess = side-effects

  • Vitamin D – Study by Donald W. Miller, Jr M.D.

– A fat soluble, steroid hormone, Vitamin D is involved in the expression of 200+ genes and the proteins they produce. – some involved as mediators that regulate the immune system. Research shows a link with influenza – occurring in the winter months with vitamin D deficiencies.  D expressed genes instruct macrophages (immune system defenders) to make antimicrobial peptides that will attack and destroy influenza virus particles. Other D-expressed genes control the response to avoid over-reaction.  Living above latitude 35 degrees North means we are unable to synthesize D from sunlight from Oct to April.  Recommended Daily Amounts are insufficient as are ‘fortified’ foods.  Oily fish contain some D.

Take D3 1000 – 5000 iu daily    Skin can make 20,000 IU in 20 min. down south

Helpful Herbs for Cold and Flu

Hello Hardy Canadians! Winter is NOT the time to back off on the vegetable intake. Keeping your body and immune system strong is the best way to avoid those nasty colds and flu bugs that are goiOreganong around. Home-made stews and soups loaded with vegetables is the way to go on these chilly days. Be sure to toss in a handful of fresh herbs for the last few minutes of cooking as many such as Oregano, Basil, Thyme, Sage and Rosemary have medicinal properties that aid in reducing symptoms associated with colds and flu. Oregano has the highest antioxidant value and is loaded with antiseptic compounds. Most of these herbs are useful as hot teas or used externally for pain and inflammation.

 

Fight the Cold/ Flu Bug with Echinacea

Echinacea (eh-kin-a-shia)

Bee and coneflower1
Species of this herb are native to North America and were traditionally used as remedies by the Great Plains Indian tribes. Also known by other names, American Cone Flower, Black Sampson, Black Susans, Brauneria Angustifolia, Brauneria Pallida, Comb Flower, Coneflower, Echinacea Augustifolia, Echinacea Pallida, and Echinacea Purpurea.
The leaves, flower and root of Echinacea are used widely to fight infections, especially the common cold and other upper respiratory infections. Those who use this herb to treat symptoms have the right idea. Research to date shows that echinacea probably modestly reduces the duration and severity of cold symptoms by stimulating the immune system. As it is an immune booster, recommendations suggest only using it short term, 2 – 4 days. Caution should be used for those with auto-immune disease.
Echinacea seems to activate chemicals in the body that decrease inflammation, which might reduce cold and flu symptoms. It also may contain some chemicals that can attack yeast and other kinds of fungi directly.
Commercially available products come in tablet form, juice, and tea.
There are concerns about the quality of some echinacea products on the market. Echinacea products are frequently mislabeled, and some may not even contain the herb, despite label claims. Don’t be fooled by the term “standardized.” It doesn’t necessarily indicate accurate labeling.

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements
http://www.herbreference.com/echinacea.html

Seasonal Eating

summer vegSaturday, October 4th
The ongoing theme of my presentations at the North Gower Farmers Market has been the promotion of fresh, locally available foods, and the nutritional value of those foods.
The recipes I have demonstrated are not only nutritious but easy to make. It does not have to cost a lot, nor take a lot of time to prepare dishes that support good health.
Seasonal eating refers to consuming fresh fruit and vegetables at the time when they are naturally available. The advantages are many:
– Generally cost less when they are abundant, volumes ripen around the same time eg asparagus, or berries. Cost increases when they must be stored, or shipped from greater distances.
– Fresh seasonal foods taste better and are more nutritious as they are picked at peak ripeness, this means the full potential of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals are available. If these foods undergo any processing, such as canning or dehydration, much of these nutrients are lost in the process. Freezing is somewhat less detrimental, but any application of heat, such as parboiling, initiates some of this loss. Even refrigeration can diminish flavor (phytonutritents)
– Many whole foods contain natural enzymes that aid in the digestion of that food, these also can be degraded with processing.
– Looking at this from an environmental aspect fresh local foods require less energy compared to those that are stored, refridgerated, shipped and/or processed.

Shop at local Farmers Markets – the biggest advantage is you can get to know the producer and his farming practices, and know that you are supporting local families, business and economy.

Growing some of your own foods also has its benefits, when you know exactly what is in the soil and on the produce – hopefully nothing chemical, man-made or otherwise harmful!

Just remember – “our health is our most valuable resource”, so many negative things can happen if you don’t have good health. As a Nutritionist, I encourage you to explore genuine cooking – by this I mean from scratch, with wholesome, fresh foods. It can be simple recipes that are fun to prepare and tantalize the taste buds. The benefits are subtle, but in the long term can provide you and your family with a long and vital life.

In the words of Jennifer Raymond (The Best of Jenny’s Kitchen) “ There is real pleasure and deep satisfaction in the proper handling and careful preparation of fresh, beautiful foods from the earth.”

Some examples of cool season spring/early summer
asparagus, peas, lettuce, spring onion, radish, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries.
Fall
Artichoke, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, leek, carrot
onion, potato, squash, turnip, cauliflower, parsnip, apples, pear
Warm season
Beans, corn, cucumber, eggplant, melons, okra, peppers, zucchini, sweet potato, tomato, swiss chard, berries, peaches, cherries, plums

Another aspect of seasonal eating is what we prefer as the seasons change, particularly in Canada where there are distinct differences.
• Hot humid days encourage us to consume foods that are higher in moisture, fresh fruits and softer vegetables all high in vitamin content.
• ‘cooling’ herbs such as mint, lemon balm, lemon grass, citrus and melons
• With the colder weather we need ‘warming’ foods, herbal teas and dishes made with those fall seasonals, root vegetables and dark leafy greens that can be lightly steamed. Warming spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, curry and turmeric also foot the bill and are a great source of antioxidants. A leafy salad at this time just does not satisfy.

Your Body is an Amazing Machine

blog pic

There has been a flurry of good articles on menu ideas, recipes, shopping tips and the benefits of supporting local growers. Dieticians, Nutritionists, Personal Trainers and even Organic Farmers all share a common goal of improving the health of Canadians. Encouraging the growing trend of eating well and being fit, in my mind, is the true meaning of health care.
Our role is to provide the public with the education and resources to do this. Knowledge is the key to prevention and prevention is the key to a lifetime of wellness. I like to use the comparison of your body to that of a car. Both are amazing machines, when cared for and provided with the necessary fluids and fuel to function optimally. We know what happens if a car uses bad gas, never has an oil change, gets a clogged filter or is stationary for too long. Your body is the same. It needs to move and it is of utmost importance that you provide it with natural, wholesome, quality food and limit the intake of questionable fats, excess sodium, additives, preservatives and pesticides in order to function optimally. We do not want to see ourselves or future generations become weaker and more susceptible to disease.
It would be nice to assume that the majority of the population is healthy, but there is a vast and varying range of health conditions that many people are dealing with. (Sadly the pharmaceutical companies are not complaining.) If you struggle with a health issue, it is important to pay attention to the finer details of your diet and lifestyle. Some foods can aid healing while others can cause harm. For example, consuming foods with fiber aids proper colon function, helps lower cholesterol, and provides many vitamins and minerals, but the insoluble part of fiber can irritate and inflame the delicate and damaged tissues of the intestinal lining for those with any kind of Irritable Bowel issues (IBD). Wheat fiber is especially scratchy and it is recommended that sources of more soluble fiber are consumed.
Legumes and fruit pectins are good sources of soluble fiber along with other vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that aid in warding off disease. Legumes are complex carbohydrates which take longer to break down into sugars and are therefore beneficial to those with diabetes. If combined with whole grains they are considered complete proteins with low saturated fat and can replace meat on the menu. This provides a good protein source for those with cardiovascular issues or Gout. Gout is an inflammation of the joint, most often the big toe, caused by excess uric acid produced by the breakdown of some proteins. Over-consumption of red meats in particular create a pro-inflammatory condition.
These are some examples of how knowledge can get you on the right track with nutrition for your individual needs. Taking steps to improve your shopping, eating and lifestyle habits can be easy, fun and even invigorating when you have the knowledge. For you and your family they will be steps towards a healthier, more vital life.

 

Carol Pillar, R.H.N

Nutritional Counsellor

Food for Thought

As appeared in the North Grenville Times Nov. 13/2014

 

Food for Thought                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Carol Pillar, RHN

Welcome to 2014! Not to worry, I am not going to start on a spiel about the benefits of making a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, to give up caffeine, or to join a gym.

An essential part of my role as a Nutritionist is to encourage self-responsibility when it comes to your health. This requires knowledge, but I realize that facts and figures are not for everyone, so I would like to encourage you open the lines of thought. Think about your daily choices, what you do for exercise, what you eat and drink, how you respond emotionally, and think about how all of these things affect your body and spirit.

Often many of us do not place enough importance on our well being and take our bodies for granted, “it’s tough, it can handle it”, we say, or we accept the aches and pains, digestive troubles or mood swings as part of our daily lives. So consider this; what if these physical or emotional issues are because our bodies are tiring of “handling it”? What if, over time, our bodies run low on the resources required to keep it functioning optimally and feeling well?  We are all familiar with getting that cold when we are feeling run down, this is exactly what I am referring to. Symptoms of the flu, fatigue, acid reflux, PMS, allergies, or more seriously, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, irritable bowel disease, or cancer (to name a few) are signs that we need to get past just satisfying wants, and instead provide the body with what it needs to maintain good health. Yes, our bodies are amazing machines, IF provided with the right environment and fuel, and treated with care. Not all nutritious foods are suitable for certain health conditions. Not all ‘natural’ products are safe if you are on medication.

The first tip I posted on Facebook reads like this;

“Do not take your body for granted. Treat it with compassion and you will be on the road to good health. If change is required, even one small step is significant. That first step makes it easy to take the next. Repeat that small change and over time it becomes a habit that can make a profound difference to your overall health and vitality.”

So what does “living the good life” mean to you in relation to how you treat your body? I’ve come to realize there are many differing views on this. For some it is regular exercise and ‘watching’ what they eat, or eating steak and potatoes and enjoying ‘good’ food. For others it is regularly eating out, or going for a drink and hanging out with friends. Like with most things moderation is important. Over-indulgence over time can lead to one or more of the above mentioned conditions. Appropriately supporting the body at all times, including while exercising is as important as doing the exercise. Dieting or following a ‘fad’ diet can leave the body lacking balanced nutrition. So here is something to think about; the body will find ways to maintain homeostasis, balance, if it must take from one area to balance another it will – this (for example) is how osteoporosis can begin. An overly acid forming diet such as too much protein, is balanced with alkaline calcium – most readily available from your bones.

Knowledge. Knowledge is the key. It can support, it can prevent, it can motivate.

If you have done some thinking while reading this, then you have taken the first step. What is going to be your next step?

Carol is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist providing Nutritional counselling services at Synergy Physiotherapy, 115 Saunders St. in Kemptville, www.synergyphysiotherapy.com

She may be contacted at support@wholesumapproach.com or 613-258-7133. See wholesumapproach.com for further information.  Carol will be speaking to the Youngsters of Yore at the North Grenville Public Library on January 23rd, 1:30 pm.

What is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist?

What is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist?

(as appeared in the North Grenville Times dated November 18, 2013)

Imagine if for every dollar spent on prevention, ten times this could be saved on the cost of ‘health care’, our system of caring for the sick. Who then could argue with the concept of a preventative approach to wellness through nutrition? It is a well-known fact that all living organisms require food for vitality. Nutritious food is essential for the maintenance or restoration of good health. Under optimal conditions our bodies are amazing, self-healing machines. How many of us are in an optimal state of health? What is the quality of the food we eat, the fluids we drink, the air that we breathe? How is your stress or energy level? Are there digestive issues, allergies or skin issues? These can be signs that may help determine if your healing system is coping optimally, or that the body’s natural detoxification mechanisms are under duress, sometimes despite consuming nutritious foods.

This is where a trained Nutritionist can help. What makes a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) different? To begin with ‘holistic’ comes from the word holism, the root being holo, meaning ‘whole, entire’. The full definition; “A theory which regards nature as a unity, made up of ‘wholes’ which are more than a mere aggregation of different elements.” (Universal Dictionary of the English Language). RHN’s are trained to support every individual as bio-chemically unique, to assess physical, mental and environmental factors in order to work towards overall wellness and to take into account existing conditions, medications, supplements and of course, diet and lifestyle. Their purpose is to guide and educate clients on appropriate nutrition with the goal of encouraging them to accept responsibility for their own health through their daily choices and actions. Ideally a nutritionist will work co-operatively with other health disciplines to best serve the client’s needs.

As their code of ethics promotes the use of a diet rich in wholesome, fresh, clean foods while protecting and sustaining the environment, Nutritionists support the “know your food, know your farmer’ concept and encourage shopping locally. We value products that are as organic, natural and nutrient dense as possible; clean meats fed naturally and treated humanely by their farmers, eggs from free range chickens, real maple syrup and raw honey instead of refined white sugar, drinking lots of clean water, eating lots of fresh greens and steaming instead of boiling vegetables. These things help us take responsibility for what our bodies are exposed to and provide it with the ability to effectively detoxify.  Overall, this is a healthy combination of common sense and getting back to a simpler, cleaner way of caring for one’s own wellness.
Protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, probiotics and enzymes are the ingredients in these wholesome foods that can rebalance the body on a cellular, hormonal, or physical level.  A Nutritionist sees the signs and symptoms a person has as clues, rather than labels, to understanding what is under or over functioning in the body and potentially causing chronic physical, and often emotional, pain or discomfort.

As with any profession, it is important to be informed as to what practitioner’s credentials are. Graduates of the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition are granted the designation of RHN, a designation specific to the school that is registered federally with the Canadian Intellectual Property office of Industry Canada. CSNN has 11 locations across Canada, the first having opened in 1995. In Ontario the school is certified by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. See www.csnn.ca

Students must complete a demanding course of study, which includes 17 different course modules, and maintain an 80% average. Studies are down to the cellular level with classes in bio-chemistry and cellular biology. They are taught how the nutrients from the substances we ingest, once absorbed by our bodies, affect the tissues, organs, and all body systems, through classes in anatomy & physiology, pathology, and symptomatology, fundamental and preventative nutrition.  Students study what the body needs to maintain vitality and strength through all life stages, from pre-conception, to senior years and includes nutrition for athletes. More specific studies include the mind, body, spirit connection, eco-nutrition, allergies, diets, literature research and business fundamentals.
Practical training includes 14 supervised case studies focusing on nutritional, supplemental, lifestyle recommendations, and menu planning. A minimum of 50 practicum hours, which can include additional information on a variety of topics or case study reviews, and both an oral and written exam are required to graduate.  Teachers may have backgrounds as Medical Doctors, Naturopathic Doctors, and practicing Registered Holistic Nutritionists with BAs, Masters or PhD’s in biology, chemistry, environmental studies and nutrition.

Although RHN’s are not listed in the Regulated Health Professionals Act, Nutritionists abide by very high moral, ethical and technical standards in order to provide a professional service in preventative health care and nutrition education.  Consequences in breaching the code of ethics are losing their right to practice and their RHN designation. For further information contact the Canadian Association of Natural Nutritional Professionals at www.cannp.ca or the Canadian Association of Holistic Nutritional Professionals at www.cahnpro.org

Registered Holistic Nutritionists may be found in locations such as Natural Health and Wellness Centers, Medical clinics, Health Food stores, Athletic Training Facilities, Chiropractic or Physiotherapy clinics, Senior or Home Care services to name a few. The following are examples where RHN services are being used; The “Ontario Integrated Cancer Center”, The Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Healthy Gourmet” has invited  Julie Daniluk, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, as their voice on Nutrition & Health. Several valued “household name” cookbooks are written by Registered Holistic Nutritionists. The most well known locally are the Looney Spoons sisters, Janet and Greta who are on the Food Channel with their show “Eat, Shrink and be Merry.

RHN’s are not in a position to diagnose, cure, prescribe or perform any procedures, but will provide service in a non-judgmental, respectful, and responsible manner and ensure complete confidentiality for their clients.

The intent of this article is to educate the general public on the role of a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and is in no way defending or speaking on behalf of others who claim to be Nutritional experts.

Carol Pillar RHN

Asta Barsauskas RHN

The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition

Carol Pillar will be providing Nutritional Counselling services in the Kemptville area beginning in December. She can be contacted at support@wholesumapproach.com or leave a message at 613-258-7133.